Higher education cuts may yield drastic solution

The word on the street is that UNLV and the rest of the state’s colleges and universities could go bankrupt because of budget cuts.

But is it really that bad?

"Absolutely," said Dan Klaich, the higher education system’s chancellor. "I think you have to think carefully about what the alternatives are."

Budget cuts proposed by Gov. Brian Sandoval are anywhere from about 10 percent to up to 42 percent of the higher education system’s budget, depending on how you measure it.

"Pick any percentage you want and you can make it real," Klaich said. "But you can’t run away from the fact that this means $162 million out of the budget of the Nevada System of Higher Education."

That amount equals the entire annual state support for:

■ Nevada State College

■ Great Basin College

■ Western Nevada College

■ UNLV’s law and dental schools

■ And virtually all of the University of Nevada, Reno, including the medical school.

There will be student fee increases to help cover the gap. There will probably be pay cuts. Some programs and departments are likely to be eliminated too.

But all that might not be enough. Something drastic will have to happen. Short of shutting down a couple of the community colleges and the state college — and those sorts of moves are being considered — that something might be bankruptcy.

The fancy term for that is financial exigency (rhymes with "excellency").

It’s not exactly like bankruptcy, but it’s similar. Think of it like this: The employees are the creditors in this form of bankruptcy. Declaring it will ruin your reputation and your credit rating, but at least you can ditch your creditors.

A formal declaration of financial exigency would allow the colleges and universities to fire anyone without much notice, regardless of contractual obligations. That includes tenured faculty.

"They could basically get rid of people more quickly than they could without a declaration of exigency," said Gregory Brown, a history professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and president of the university’s chapter of the Nevada Faculty Alliance.

Without a declaration, it wouldn’t be that easy. For example, let’s say UNLV decides it wants to eliminate its College of Engineering because it’s really expensive to run. Because of contracts, the university would be required to give a year’s notice to those employees who have been with the university for more than three years. That would mean most of the savings wouldn’t be immediate.

And what’s more, tenured faculty can’t be fired for any reason other than poor performance — unless there’s a declaration of financial exigency. That’s just the way higher education works.

That’s why Klaich said he and the Board of Regents are seriously considering financial exigency as an option. It would allow immediate savings on a vastly larger scale than not declaring it would.

But, as always, it’s not that simple.

A financial exigency declaration could also have terrible, long-lasting consequences.

A declaration could ruin the reputations of both universities and the research institute. It would be difficult to recruit top research professors after a declaration because they might not want to risk working there.

Without top faculty, research grants could drop dramatically. Grants and contracts brought in nearly $300 million to the three institutions last year.

A declaration could also damage the system’s bond rating. That’s similar to your credit rating. Damaging that could mean higher interest rates for the institutions, which would mean more money down the drain.

It could also open the system up to legal liabilities. In other words, fired workers could sue. Exigency is a very little used tool. It’s not well defined either in statute or in case law. Someone who is fired under what they believe were unjust terms could sue the system or the university, piling up legal fees for years. They might even win.

Limited forms of exigency have been used here three times, all in the 1970s, according to a review from the higher education system’s vice chancellor for academic and student affairs, Crystal Abba, that was sent to legislators on Friday.

In 1977 and 1974, the Board of Regents declared financial exigency for certain programs at the Desert Research Institute. It did it again in 1977 for a business unit at CSN. The Board considered it in 1982, and again last year, but avoided it.

Financial exigency or its equivalent is also being considered elsewhere as states grapple with budget cuts. Arizona’s higher education leaders declared a limited form of it to impose furloughs. News reports indicate that a junior college in California is considering it, as are several public school districts in Texas and Louisiana. It has also happened in a few cases elsewhere in the past.

But it appears that no major university or higher education system has declared exigency or is seriously considering it right now. Except Nevada.

And right now that’s all Nevada is doing, considering it. No cuts have passed the Legislature, and they probably won’t until June.

"We are going to fight these budget reductions tooth and nail until the final gavel comes down," Klaich said.

He said all options will be on the table if cuts do come down. Exigency, whether limited in scope or systemwide, mass firings, closing whole schools.

If schools are closed, programs are eliminated, faculty are fired en masse, and entire colleges at the universities are shut down, it is likely that thousands of college students will have nowhere to go.

They are already complaining that classes they need are full because there is no money to add more classes or hire more professors.

Contact reporter Richard Lake at rlake@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0307.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Amazon's Alexa Recorded and Shared a Couple’s Conversation
Amazon's Alexa Recorded and Shared a Couple’s Conversation News station KIRO 7 reported a Portland couple’s conversation was recorded and sent to one of their contacts via their Amazon Echo device. They found out when the husband’s employee called him saying, via KIRO 7 The voice-activated assistant is used by more than 60 million U.S. consumers, according to Bloomberg. But what will happen if these devices become digital spies within our homes? Daniel Kahn Gillmor, Daniel Kahn Gillmor, to Bloomberg Daniel Kahn Gillmor, to Bloomberg Amazon Inc. issued a statement that the incident in Portland is an “extremely rare occurrence,” and the company did not state whether it was a bug or due to hacking.
Neighbor talks about 15-year-old alleged shooter
Nolan Turner, 15, who lives across the street from the 15-year-old who allegedly shot and killed his father and shot his mother talks about growing up with the teen. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas teen kills dad, wounds mom before she shoots him
A 15-year-old boy shot his father to death and wounded his mother in a west valley home Thursday morning before being wounded when she got a gun and returned fire, according to Las Vegas police. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers were called just after 10:45 a.m. Thursday on the 9900 block of Barrier Reef Drive, near West Sahara Avenue and South Hualapai Way. In a briefing near the scene, police said the teenager shot his dad in the head, killing him, then shot his mom, who got another gun and returned fire. They said the boy jumped a wall and ran away, but was arrested about a quarter-mile away. Both the teen and his mom were hospitalized and are expected to survive, police said. Police did not immediately identify the family members but said the man was in his early 50s and the woman was in her late 40s. K.M. Cannon/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas Native Troy Brown Jr. Preparing for NBA
Former Centennial High School player Troy Brown Jr., now 18 and one of the most accomplished high school basketball players in the history of Las Vegas, is back in his hometown preparing to play in the NBA. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Closing arguments at David Copperfield civil trial
Attorneys for British tourist Gavin Cox and MGM Resorts make their closing arguments in the David Copperfield civil trial at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Surgeon Performs Successful Rare Pancreas Surgery
Las Vegas resident Mary Duda underwent a pancreatoduodenectomy, or Whipple procedure, for her pancreatic cancer. While the grandmother of 19 recovered, her doctors say she's one of the lucky ones. Pancreatic surgery can be risky and has a high morbidity rate. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Las Vegas police explorer sentenced to 25 years to life in prison
Former Las Vegas police explorer Joshua Honea sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for sexual assault of a minor, but was allowed to remain free on bail pending appeal. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights Fans Line Up to Grab Their Conference Champions Gear
Golden Knights fans lined up at City National Arena Monday to snap up Conference Champions gear and other memorabilia the day after the Golden Knights won the Stanley Cup Conference Finals. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas-Review Journal)
Las Vegas shooting survivor has surprise reunion
Oct. 1 mass shooting survivors Taylor Stovall and Parker Gabel meet for the first time since Gabel helped the injured Stovall to an ambulance the night of the shooting. Stovall, then 17, was shot in the arm. They met Friday at the Tropicana.
Hawaii volcano presser
Talmadge Magno of Hawaii Civil Defense gives an update on the Kilauea volcano
Same-Sex Weddings on the Rise in Las Vegas
Allie and Tara Shima finally tied the knot. They've been together for five years and have both been married before. This time, they wanted something simple, quick and cheap, but it still had to feel special. The couple chose Las Vegas. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Courtyard Homeless Resource Center begins building in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Ward 3 Councilman Bob Coffin kicked off the demolition of buildings where the Courtyard Homeless Resource Center will be built. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Father of fallen Marine to throw out first pitch
Rich Perez, father of Rich Perez Jr. who died while serving in the Marines in Iraq, talks about throwing out the first pitch at the Las Vegas 51s baseball game on Memorial Day. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"Yanny" or "Laurel" hearing test has gone viral
'Yanny' or 'Laurel?' This Hearing Test Has Gone Viral This hearing test has gone viral on social media with some hearing "Yanny" while others swear hearing "Laurel." The voice is actually saying "Laurel," but the pitch was changed, causing some to hear "Yanny."
LVMPD Briefs on Year's Sixth Officer-Involved Shooting
Las Vegas police have identified the officer who shot a shovel-wielding woman on Saturday as 23-year-old Ondre Wills.
Police release body camera footage of shovel-wielding woman
Las Vegas police identified the woman they said threatened neighbors with a skillet Saturday night. Officer Ondre Wills, 23, shot at Sommer Richards, 34, multiple times on Big Sur Drive, near Nellis Boulevard and Desert Inn Road. Police responded to the area after receiving reports that the woman was armed with a shovel. Police said the woman chased neighbors and a security guard. Wills got between Richards and the others and repeatedly told her to drop the shovel. The woman instead turned and moved toward a person who was standing nearby before the officer fired shots. Police said she bit another officer as he attempted to render aid. Richards remains in serious but stable condition.
College of Southern Nevada Graduates 2017-18 Class
The College of Southern Nevada's graduation ceremony was held at the Thomas & Mack Center Monday. The 2017-18 class was the institution's largest in history. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro looking for suspect in bank robbery.
On Jan. 22, a man robbed a bank in the 8700 block of West Sahara Avenue.
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee at opening of U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, at opening ceremony of U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, speaks about the violence in Gaza. (Debra J. Saunders/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Supreme Court strikes down law banning sports betting outside Nevada
The Supreme Court has overturned a federal ban on sports gambling. States other than Nevada will be allowed to provide bookmaking and betting at casinos and race tracks. Justice Samuel Alito said Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, “each State is free to act on its own.” The vote was 6-3. One research firm estimates that 32 states will likely offer sports betting within five years.
Westcare Clinic Crucial to Las Vegan's Addiction Recovery
Christian Hunt, 21, was sent to Westcare in September after he ended up on drugs and in the hospital. If it weren't for the nonprofit's Community Triage Center, Hunt said he would still be using drugs. Instead, he's been sober for six months, and stopped using methamphetamines seven months ago. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Foundation Provides Full Rides for Clark County Students
Somewhere along the banks of the Ohio River in Owensboro, Kentucky, a group of students from Sin City are pursuing a higher education. Feature on the 38 Clark County students that the Rogers Foundation has given full rides to for Kentucky Wesleyan College. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Flames engulf house in Henderson
Clark County firefighters battled a house fire early Friday morning in Henderson. The house, located near Volunteer Boulevard and Executive Airport Drive, was fully engulfed in flames about 2 a.m. Shifting winds sent massive plumes of smoke across the southern Las Vegas Valley sky. As of 3 a.m. , the cause of the fire was not known and no injuries were reported.
Harvey Weinstein’s Estranged Wife Speaks Out for First Time
Harvey Weinstein’s Estranged Wife Speaks Out for First Time Georgina Chapman was profiled for 'Vogue’s' June issue, speaking on her estranged husband for the first time since he was accused of sexual assault in October. Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Chapman, who has two children with Weinstein, also said she has been seeing a therapist and that has helped her move forward. Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Read the full profile on Chapman in Vogue’s June issue or online at Vogue.com.
Bark-Andre Furry the dog is a Vegas Golden Knights hockey fan
The furriest fan of the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights is growing into a social media sensation. Bark-Andre Furry the Jack Russell terrier has thousands of followers on Twitter and Instagram. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspect Sought In Robbery Attempt
Attorney Gloria Allred on case against Benjamin Sparks
Attorney Gloria Allred is representing the victim in a "sex slave" case against GOP political consultant Benjamin Sparks.
2018 Las Vegas Review-Journal High School Journalism Awards winners
Some winners of the 2018 Las Vegas Review-Journal High School Journalism Awards receive their awards.
Weather Balloon Collects Key Data
Meteorologist Chelsea Kryston discusses the Las Vegas National Weather Service's balloon carrying a radiosonde that collects temperature, humidity and pressure readings.
'Avengers: Infinity War' to Cross $1 Billion Mark
'Avengers: Infinity War' to Cross $1 Billion Mark And it will have done so faster than any other film in history. The Anthony and Joe Russo directed film has only been in theaters for eight days since its Apr. 27 release, and it’s already raked in $905.1 million at the worldwide box office, including $338.4 million in North America. It will reach the milestone faster than ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ which took 12 days to cross over the $1 billion threshold. ‘Infinity War’ is the 34th film to cross $1 billion at the global box office, not accounting for inflation.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like